From Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi in the superdelegates: By trying to overturn Obama's victory, Hillary has helped make America a place where elections are decided by lawyers instead of voters. Jonathan Alter on how Hillary's latest math hurts the party. Hillary's defeat isn’t a reflection of bias: Sometimes, a loss is just a loss. Why McCain's age is a legitimate issue. John Mueller on why the terror threat is overblown. From TLS, a review of Stefan Collini's Common Reading: Critics, historians, publics. From TLS, a review of Mark Edmundson's The Death of Sigmund Freud: Fascism, psychoanalysis and the rise of fundamentalism; and a review of Is Milton Better Than Shakespeare? by Nigel Smith. Here's the story of William McGonagall, the worst poet in the history of the English language. In the age of blogging, great critics appear to be on life support: Salon's book reviewers discuss snobbery, how to make criticism fun and the need for cultural gatekeepers. Blogging, it's good for you: The therapeutic value of blogging becomes a focus of study. "Great Thinkers I Have Skimmed, or Dragging My Lazy Ass to the Computer One Mo' Time": A review of The Philosophy of Herbert Spencer by Michael W. Taylor. From Ovi, an article on Alfred North Whitehead's critique of modern materialism and an article on Richard Rorty's unflinching critique of modern Western philosophy.
From New Scientist, here are five things humans no longer need. From Scientific American, an article on the science of irrationality: Why we humans behave so strangely (and more and more on Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely and Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein). A review of Symmetry: A Journey Into the Patterns of Nature by Marcus du Sautoy. In science, as in life, some stories are too good to be true. A review of Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture by Alan Sokal. Intelligent Life is in praise of short plays: Cultural quickies might help to topple the image of theatre as an elitist, hoary old dame who only comes out at night. In praise of liberal guilt: It's not wrong to favor Obama because of race. It's not personal: Critics should understand that not supporting Clinton isn't an attack on feminism. From HNN, an article on Hillary Clinton and the possessive investment in Whiteness. Why they fought on: A review of Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility by Jason Phillips. A stepchild of imperialism in 1898, it's Puerto Rico’s moment in the sun. Edward Skidelsky reviews Reappraisals by Tony Judt (and more and more). What, me host? Why was guileless Jimmy Fallon hired for Conan’s late-night desk? Are cable TV writers cribbing from Foucault? Not exactly, but Scott McLemee is keeping an eye on them anyway.
From PUP, credit, blame and social life: The first chapter from Charles Tilly's Credit and Blame; the introduction to Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op by Kiku Adatto; the introduction to Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage by James Cuno; and the first chapter from Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human by Tom Boellstorff. Exposed: Emily Gould on what she gained — and lost — by writing about her intimate life online. Scouting micro social networks: MySpace and Facebook only account for half of all visits to social-network sites — what about the 4,000 other sites? Net libertarianism: A review of Daniel J. Solove's The Future of Reputation and Jonathan Zittrain's The Future of the Internet: And how to stop it. From Reason, an article on The State of Libertarianism, 2058: How the Rand Era gave way to the Surveillance Era and what we can do about it — a speculative flight into the future. Thomas Frank on the tragic irony of Beltway Libertarianism. Will the real libertarian please stand up? Does the Libertarian Party matter? Will the libertarians spoil McCain’s chances? How the lunatic fringe hijacked America: An excerpt from Arianna Huffington's Right Is Wrong. Pollster secrets revealed: Doublethink goes inside the political numbers racket.